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“Take charge of your own health” has become a rallying cry of our times, and the internet has become our informal health and medical advisor. Whether we are seeking clues about the meaning of a new symptom we’re having or want to learn about the health benefits and risks of the latest dietary trend, our first impulse is often to search online.

While the volume of information related to health and wellness is substantial, it can be challenging to evaluate multiple, often conflicting messages – some from sources that may not be trustworthy.

Recognizing that challenge, the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation (CDHF) has established itself as a leader in digestive health by providing new resources on health and lifestyle that consumers can trust (CDHF.ca). Its new mobile app provides users with the tools they need to track symptoms and other elements related to healthy digestion (CDHF app).

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“When a consumer looks online for answers to their health questions, the information they find isn’t necessarily science-based or from trusted experts,” says Kelsey Cheyne, marketing director at CDHF.

“Now more than ever, consumers are taking charge of their health and wellness. They’re taking the time to do research, to try new products and rituals, and explore different lifestyles. We saw the need for a credible, authoritative voice to guide consumers through that journey when it comes to their digestive health.”

With the CDHF app, the data you enter is converted into easily readable graphs, so you can go to your doctor with clear information.

— Kelsey Cheyne, marketing director at the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation

As the foundation of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology, CDHF is directly connected to Canada’s leading digestive health experts, including gastroenterologists, scientific researchers and other health-care professionals such as dietitians and nutritionists. “Our connection to these experts allows us to reassure consumers that we are providing science-based, current and unbiased information they can trust,” says Cheyne.

The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation has always focused on providing information on digestive disorders – 16 diseases or conditions that together affect an estimated 20 million Canadians every year.

“We found that people wanted more advice on preventative and proactive health strategies as well,” Cheyne says. “People appreciate learning how to manage these common disorders, but many consumers also want authoritative information on how to prevent diseases and on gut health topics like fibre, prebiotics and probiotics, and diets and lifestyle changes.” The revamped website allows them to explore this information from a trusted source, on its own and as it relates to digestive conditions.

The mobile app provides additional tools for tracking symptoms, allowing individuals to choose from an array of pictographs and user-friendly descriptions, such as “volcano in stomach” and “burning sensation.” The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation worked with McMaster University to create the universal symbols used in the app. (Currently, the app is for iOS devices, with plans to expand to additional devices in the future.)

“With the CDHF app, the data you enter is converted into easily readable graphs, so you can go to your doctor with clear information,” she says. “This improves communication between patients and their physicians, gives the physicians access to what’s happening with their patients’ digestive health and can allow for quicker diagnosis.”

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Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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